The clock was ticking past 5 as I was still sitting in my cubicle, knowing that I had only a matter of minutes to skedaddle and make it in time for my work out class.
This wasn't just any work out class, it was a) my favorite, and b) that one where it's been far too long since my last work out, and I know I reaaalllyyy shouldn't push it one more day.
It was needed, both mentally and physically. And regardless of the workload before me, I had to make this class. So I locked my computer, grabbed my purse, and crossed my fingers that I could get through the dreaded Fairview intersection in 10 minutes.
I did! I even managed to nail my parking job on the first attempt (gave myself a nice pat on the back for that one). With a few minutes to spare, I had just enough time to change into my work out clothes that were tooootally from the "I haven't done laundry in weeks so this is what I have to work with" collection. Everything was looking fine and dandy, until.
That word that signifies the story's about to change, and yupp, you guessed it! This one is.
I reached down to grab my work out bag and one word came to mind: contacts. They were both vital for the cardio-based work out class, and 100% forgotten as I packed up in the morning. I admitted defeat as I scrounged through my purse and calculated how quickly I could drive home and back. The "and back" part just wasn't going to happen in time. And with an evening full of homework and laundry before me, I figured I just may have to use this as an opportunity to get a head start.
I silently mourned my work out plans for a few moments before turning my engine back on. Having pulled in with no car to my left, I planned on taking advantage of that space. As my car was turning, I glanced up just in time to see the tan van door I was about to demolish.
I stopped immediately, both of our eyes like a deer in headlights as we processed what could have just happened. I changed gears, and moved forward into my parking spot, silently thanking God for no or minimal damage, and preparing for a serious chastising.
The man got out of his car, and examined his door. I was almost afraid to look as he ran his fingers along some scratch marks. I rolled down my window, ready for the much-deserved anger.
"It looks like I hit you; I'm so sorry," I said. I braced myself as he turned towards me, but instead of resentment and frustration, I was met with unwarranted kindness and grace.
"You did, but we're not going to do anything about it. I'm just going to go home and buff it out, because if we did something about it, it would ruin your day."
My eyes welled up with tears, and I said the only words that could come out of my mouth:
He grabbed his gym bag, but before leaving, he said "stop and breath a bit before you go."
And the tears flowed.
Kindness is powerful like that. I wasn't crying over the situation (okay, maybe a little), or over my work out class, or over the end of a stressful day. I was crying because his kindness blessed me in a way that I didn't know my heart was needing it.
The truth is, I didn't need a work out class. I needed to hear the words "stop and breath a bit before you go."
Dear man whose car I hit: thank you.
Thank you for reminding me how powerful it is to live with overflowing grace and kindness in our hearts.
But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.
1 John 4:12